"that's who I am, deal with it" pretty effectively slams the door in your face doesn't it? It is easy (feels safe) to say that and walk away, but I have to wonder if she really likes being that way.
I will admit that I have behaved poorly (perhaps similarly) during some difficult times but I recognized it and was embarrassed by it and worked on changing it. My husband would say things like "you need to calm down" or "you're overreacting" and it would make me so much more angry but deep down I knew that he was right and I appreciated that he was still there trying to work with me in spite of my bad behavior.
For me, seeing that he kept trying to work with me, in spite of bad behavior, anger, frustration, fighting, etc. and hearing him consistently say that he loved me and wanted us both to be happy and stay in our relationship - that helped me to not feel so defensive and look for ways to be a different (mentally healthier) person in the relationship.
True, I don't have "in love" feelings for him right now, but I would say that my level of anger and resentment has diminished and I appreciate having some positives to keep me motivated to continue trying. It is a slow process, it has taken time for each of us to see the need or desire to change ourselves, to figure out what and how to change, and for the other person to recognize and trust that change is occurring.
What is my H doing to work on the marriage? The honest truth is that I don't really know. He doesn't do counseling and doesn't read books and I doubt that he is even aware that forums such as this exist. I believe he simply decided that he needed to work on being different in the relationship too. For many years he believed that the problem was all me, told me that I needed to "come around", "give 100%", etc and said that he might have to move on if I didn't. I think he just sat back and waited for me to do that. I tried and tried to be the person he wanted me to be but it made me more and more miserable so instead of things getting better they were getting worse. He works out of town a lot and it got to the point where I didn't care to be in touch with him when he was gone and felt that if he decided to leave me then he would probably be happier doing so. He apparently found that he didn't want to leave me and wanted to work on getting along with me better. The changes are subtle (he is trying to be patient, better at listening, trying to treat me the way I have asked, etc.) and coincide with my own efforts to change so it is difficult to pin point what specifically is working.
As for the the question about "just start having sex" I believe that could work in many situations, but is not good universal advice. I think it is complicated and there are many different situations. If, for instance, the (lets just say) woman gets busy and sex gets pushed down the priority list then it is probably relatively easy to just do it when reminded that it is important. If the woman is feeling angry or hurt and is not feeling very loving then just doing it is more difficult; if she is willing to jut do it, I personally think that the man needs to appreciate the woman's efforts and both partners need to address the woman's feelings which can be difficult because the woman may not feel comfortable talking about it, may not know how to identify what's bothering her, the man may not recognize that there is a problem, might not give credence to her feelings or may not be willing to pay attention to her needs. If the woman is just that way, as Accuray describes his wife, then she is just doing it but it is not necessarily satisfying to either partner.
I did desire sex with my husband early in our relationship, have never wanted a sexless relationship, and would like to find myself desiring him (and sex in and of itself) again.
Hi Accuray, I've wondered a couple of things about your wife. First, does she care to improve herself or excel in other ways that are not directly about her relationship with you? and second, does she seem to allow herself to enjoy any physical activities that are not necesarrily sexual (such as back rub, foot rub, facial, excercise)? Maybe it is just the optimist in me, but I would have trouble accepting "that's just the way I am" and I am hopeful there is something for you to work with even though it would take time, patience and a lot of support to help her feel safe and willing to change.